Behind Noah Dickerson’s 15 points, Washington maintained a lead from four to 10 points through much of the first half before going 5:40 with a basket, sparking a 13-1 USC run, and never recovered in a 74-58 loss to the Trojans Saturday afternoon at the Galen Center in Los Angeles. The Huskies (9-21, 2-16) extended their school-record losing streak to 12 consecutive games.
Washington, which again played without leading scorer Markelle Fultz (sore knee), closed the regular season with two more dubious records. Since the Pac-12 initiated an 18-game conference schedule in 1978-79, this is the first Husky team to win fewer than three conference games in a regular season.
Dating to last year, Washington has also lost 14 consecutive Pac-12 road games, the first Husky team to do so. The nine wins were fewest in the Lorenzo Romar era (10 in 2002-03).
The 21 losses are the most in Romar’s UW career. He lost 17 in both 2002-03 and 2007-08.
“We were in a tough spot,” said Romar. “Not only was Markelle out, but David Crisp got into foul trouble. That made it a lot tougher. In spite of that adversity, I thought our guys fought pretty hard. We got an outstanding game from Noah, who has been playing at an all-conference level for the last nine games. He was a man around the basket.
“We had a chance to win. In the first half, we were rolling right along, but then we began to turn it over.”
After a 14-4 UW lead, the Trojans roared back to take a 39-33 halftime lead. Washington aided the Trojans by committing nine turnovers that led to 13 points.
Dickerson hit 10 of 15 shots for a career-high 27 points. He added a team-high eight rebounds. Matisse Thybulle, with 19 points, was the only other Washington player in double figures.
The Huskies might have been more competitive had they been able to convert their free throws. They went 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) and also went only 5-for-19 from 3-point range (26.3 percent). Defensively, the Huskies allowed USC to hit 58.7 percent of its shots.
Jordan McLaughlin led USC with 22 points while Chimezie Metu added 17.
Seeded 11th, the Huskies face the Trojans again at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday in the opening round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Fultz is not expected to play. If that’s the case, and if the Huskies lose to the Trojans for the third time this season, Fultz’s Washington career is likely. Many expect him to become the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.
“Right now, it’s unlikely we’ll see Fultz in Las Vegas,” Romar said.